BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Anne Arundel County Executive John Leopold said he would foot his legal bills in a federal harassment lawsuit filed by his former press aide if he loses. Karla Hamner claims Leopold made unwanted sexual advances toward her and fired her after she complained.
“I want the taxpayers to rest assured, however, knowing ahead of time that I would never allow them to pay my attorney fees if there is an unfavorable court ruling,” Leopold said in a written statement.
Leopold said he believes Hamner’s allegations are baseless.
“I am legally entitled to this legal representation at no cost to myself,” he said. “This is to advise the Self Insurance Fund Committee that I will personally reimburse the County for any or all legal fees paid to the Thatcher firm in this matter.”
Leopold has, however, made it clear that he would not pay the fees if the county settles the case without his consent, if the court does not give Hamner any compensation or if the harassment case against him is dismissed before it goes to trial.
State law mandates the county pay for Leopold’s defense. More than $20,000 has gone toward private attorneys defending Leopold in the harassment case.
Another female employee, Carla Sagerholm, has testified against Leopold alleging inappropriate sexual behavior and language.
Leopold is awaiting trial on criminal charges in connection with misconduct in office. Leopold is accused of spying on political adversaries and using his security detail to drive him to sexual encounters.